Reversing early retirement: Different patterns on the same trend
International Comparisons and European Integration Institute for Employment Research/ Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschungs (IAB) Nuernberg, Germany
FH Fachhochschule des Bundes Mannheim, Germany
The labour market situation of older workers in Europe has increased over the past years. Most countries have reversed the trend of early retirement towards a strategy of active ageing by implementing reforms to change the current early exit pathways in order to reintegrate older people in the labour market, but with differences in the timing and reform process. However, the employment upswing of older workers cannot only be related to such political factors. Other factors like economic frame conditions or the institutional setting, i.e. the availability of other regulations to favour the early leave through other benefit systems have to be taken into consideration to identify differences among countries. With this deeper view, the achievements of the successful countries must been seen under another perspective. In a first part, this contribution will shortly focus on these issues.
Nonetheless, the differences concerning the development and the reversal of the early retirement trend among different types of welfare states are already known (e.g. Maltby et al., 2004). More of interest are the distinctions among countries of one type of welfare states, in particular the conservative ones. They show less progress in reintegrating older workers in the labour market compared to social-democratic and liberal countries, where early retirement never played that important role. The development in the conservative countries followed a different pattern instead: The focus laid on the use of passive security measures rather than active labour market measures. Moreover, structural problems on the labour market were solved by reducing the labour force over early retirement. However, the highly practiced use of such instruments led to a dilemma: A reversal of this trend was hard to achieve because of the deeply rooted attitudes and interests as well as the acquired social rights of social partners, employers and employees together. The second part of this contribution is going to concentrate on the differences concerning the trend reversal of early retirement in three conservative welfare states, namely Germany, the Netherlands and Austria.